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Amazon Says Data Center Power Back After Storm Outage

Amazon.com Inc. signage is displayed on a computer monitor in Washington, D.C.Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Amazon.com Inc. signage is displayed on a computer monitor in Washington, D.C.Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. said severe East Coast thunderstorms led to power outages on June 29 at its Internet-based computing services, which are used by hundreds of thousands of businesses to store data and run websites.

The storms impacted power to several data centers in northern Virginia beginning on Friday night, the Seattle-based company said in an e-mailed statement. In one location, backup power didn’t operate correctly, affecting certain users. The company didn’t identify the customers and said power was fully restored by the next day.

Amazon, which saw its servers crash in April 2011 and earlier this month, could lose business to competitors, said Dan Kurnos, a Benchmark Co. analyst. Companies may opt for multiple providers of cloud computing, which allows users to store data in remote servers on the Internet, something that would help stop an outage in one data center from halting service, he said.

“It doesn’t help that it was the second one in the same month,” said Kurnos, referring to the outage.

Pinterest Inc., an image-based social network, posted a note on Facebook on Friday, saying the website was running again after a server outage. Netflix Inc., the online movie service, was unable to stream content for about three hours on Friday, Joris Evers, a Netflix spokesman, said.

“This was related to the Amazon Web Services troubles,” he said. “We are investigating exactly what happened and why our service wasn’t resilient.”

Netflix, Pinterest

Amazon has billed the company’s six-year old cloud-computing offering as a cheap and safe way for businesses to outsource their data centers. The service is used by companies in 190 countries, allowing them to rent servers for their websites, support mobile applications and store customer data, according to Amazon.

Users that experienced outages were probably depending on one data center and should be paying more to use either multiple data centers or several providers to protect them from crashes, Kurnos said.

If not, “they’re putting all their eggs in one basket,” Kurnos, who recommends buying Amazon stock, said in a telephone interview. “It’s a cost-benefit analysis. They were assuming that that specific data center wouldn’t go down.”

Kay Kinton, an Amazon spokeswoman, declined to comment on whether the outages would prompt customers to turn to competitors.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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